Finding bilingual French names

My name list has undergone some major renovations as we’ve decided to go with French names. The trick is, my family doesn’t really speak French, and people in my hometown can really butcher a lovely French name with their accents. SO, I want to find the perfect names that are recognizably French, but not too hard for English people to say. I have a list here of 12 girls’ and 12 boys’ names… please tell me what you think and how well you think they would work outside of the French community. Be brutally honest, because I’m too used to French names to be unbiased anymore.

Thank you!


  1. B”atrice (nn [name]Bay[/name])
  2. [name]Anouk[/name]
  3. Am”lie
  4. F”licit”
  5. Cl”o ou Cl”mentine (nn Cl”o)
  6. [name]Lucille[/name] (nn [name]Lucie[/name])
  7. [name]Marielle[/name] ou [name]Murielle[/name]
  8. L”oni, L”onie
  9. [name]Doriane[/name] ou Doroth”e (nn [name]Dory[/name])
  10. [name]Estelle[/name]
  11. [name]Aliz[/name]”e
  12. [name]Arielle[/name]


  1. Gid”on (nn [name]Guy[/name]), ou G”d”on (nn [name]Ged[/name])
  2. B”n”dict (nn [name]Ben[/name])
  3. [name]Guillaume[/name] (nn [name]Guy[/name]), [name]Guillem[/name] ou Guilhem (nn [name]Gill[/name])
  4. L”o
  5. [name]Luc[/name]
  6. [name]Lucien[/name]
  7. [name]Beno[/name]”t (nn [name]Ben[/name])
  8. [name]Math[/name]”o
  9. S”bastien ou [name]Bastien[/name]
  10. [name]Cyprien[/name] (nn [name]Cy[/name])
  11. [name]Casimir[/name] (nn Caz, like Cahz)
  12. [name]Flavien[/name] (nn Flav)

Oh, I love [name]Anouk[/name]! We had it on our short list twice. I also like [name]Lucille[/name] (and I seem to remember stumbling upon the rather fetching 2 syllable [name]Lucinde[/name] when I was pregnant with number two.) My first daughter is [name]Frederique[/name] and we decided not to go with a French name for number 2 because it might seem pretentious since we’re not at all French. Another name I love is [name]Mathilde[/name].

I actually love all your boys names (and your girls) so I’m not much help. I think [name]Gideon[/name] works well in both languages and I love Gid. [name]Bastien[/name] also gets a vote from me because I love the novel: The Neverending [name]Story[/name]. And [name]Luc[/name] is such an elegant and simple name. What’s not to like? I love [name]Lucien[/name], but [name]Luc[/name] might fit your criteria better. [name]Ah[/name], and [name]Guillaume[/name]. Would you say [name]Guy[/name] as in [name]Guy[/name] Smiley? Or [name]Gee[/name] (hard g), as in [name]Guy[/name] de Maupassant?

My favorites:



I don’t at all like:
[name]Anouk[/name] (not sure how to pronouce, and if it’s how I think, it sounds clunky, not graceful like your others)
[name]Felicity[/name] (virture names aren’t my style)
[name]Cleo[/name] (great name that I’ve known on FAR too many cats)
[name]Doriane[/name] (I think of [name]Dorian[/name] and associate it with a man)

[name]Guillaume[/name] (will be butchered, as will it’s nickname: Is it [name]Guy[/name], [name]Gee[/name]? etc)
[name]Benoit[/name] – any silent t will cause pronunciation problems don’t you think?
[name]Flavian[/name] (I don’t think this name translates cultures well)

eglantine: With [name]Guillaume[/name], nn [name]Guy[/name], [name]Guy[/name] would be pronounced like Ghee. (And it has been a favorite name of mine long before I even met my French husband!) I can see how people, seeing [name]Guy[/name] written, would likely say [name]GUY[/name] (as in Smiley) though. :frowning:
moxielove: Thank you, those are the kind of comments I need to hear! I’m not entirely convinced there would be a problem with [name]Benoit[/name]… do you think people would actually say [name]Ben[/name]-oyt?

I adore a lot of French names, but a lot of them aren’t ideal in non-French speaking places. Another thing is that the accent will be dropped on almost everything, so if that matters to you, I would avoid a name with an accent. Are you living in a totally English speaking place, or is it just a problem with family members?

  1. B”atrice: The French pronunciation will be very unintuitive to English speakers, since [name]Beatrice[/name] is a common name that already has an established English pronunciation. It’s probably not the worst, though.

  2. [name]Anouk[/name]: I think this is one that’ll get a lot of odd looks. The pronunciation is intuitive, but I personally don’t think it has a very nice sound or look.

  3. Am”lie: I think this would work. I know a [name]German[/name] [name]Amelie[/name] (without the accent, of course) and people seem to do well with it. It gets pronounced [name]AH[/name]-muh-lee, and I think the ah-meh-lee pronunciation wouldn’t really work in the US. One thing is that it’ll probably be confused with [name]Emily[/name] and [name]Amelia[/name].

  4. F”licit”: I think no for this one. I can’t see it going over well in the US. The accents would be dropped, turning it into Felicite, which would be pronounced ‘fel-iss-eet’. Also, I’m probably wrong, but aren’t feminine names (and words) usually with two Es?

  5. Cl”o ou Cl”mentine (nn Cl”o): Cl”o might work, but it would be pronounced [name]Clio[/name]. [name]Clementine[/name] would be pronounced the normal English way, not ‘cleh-mahn-teen’.

  6. [name]Lucille[/name] (nn [name]Lucie[/name]): Definitely! I think this is one of the most usable on your list.

  7. [name]Marielle[/name] ou [name]Murielle[/name]: [name]Marielle[/name] would definitely work, but I’m not sure about [name]Murielle[/name].

  8. L”oni, L”onie: I really love L”onie, but I would only use it if you’re okay with it being pronounced ‘lee-OH-nee’.

  9. [name]Doriane[/name] ou Doroth”e (nn [name]Dory[/name]): [name]Doriane[/name] could work, but I’ve never come across it before… I think Doroth”e would turn into [name]Dorothee[/name], which looks like a trendy spelling of [name]Dorothy[/name].

  10. [name]Estelle[/name]: This one would be perfectly fine!

  11. [name]Aliz[/name]”e: I didn’t know this was a name…

  12. [name]Arielle[/name]: It would work, but I find it a little dated here.

  13. Gid”on (nn [name]Guy[/name]), ou G”d”on (nn [name]Ged[/name]): Only if you’re okay with it being turned into [name]Gideon[/name].

  14. B”n”dict (nn [name]Ben[/name]): Same as [name]Gideon[/name]

  15. [name]Guillaume[/name] (nn [name]Guy[/name]), [name]Guillem[/name] ou Guilhem (nn [name]Gill[/name]): Hm… probably not. I can see it being pronounced as ‘gwill-ohm’, and [name]Guy[/name] is pretty much unusable if you’re going for the ‘ghee’ pronunciation.

  16. L”o: Same as [name]Gideon[/name] and [name]Benedict[/name]

  17. [name]Luc[/name]: I think this is one of the more usable.

  18. [name]Lucien[/name]: This too, if you’re fine with a slight pronunciation difference (loo-si-enn).

  19. [name]Beno[/name]”t (nn [name]Ben[/name]): I’m afraid not… On first glance, many would pronounce it ‘ben-oyt’, and the accent would be dropped.

  20. [name]Math[/name]”o: I guess it could go either way…

  21. S”bastien ou [name]Bastien[/name]: Same as [name]Lucien[/name]. It would probably get turned into [name]Sebastian[/name].

  22. [name]Cyprien[/name] (nn [name]Cy[/name]): The pronunciation is fairly intuitive, but the name would be pretty unfamiliar.

  23. [name]Casimir[/name] (nn Caz, like Cahz): It would definitely work, but it’d be more like CAZ-i-mir than whatever it is in French.

  24. [name]Flavien[/name] (nn Flav): It would be pronounced ‘FLAYV-ee-enn’.

I think the most usable are [name]Estelle[/name], [name]Lucille[/name], [name]Marielle[/name], and [name]Arielle[/name], but [name]Amelie[/name] and [name]Leonie[/name] could work too. For the boys, I think [name]Gideon[/name], [name]Luc[/name], [name]Lucien[/name], [name]Sebastien[/name], and [name]Casimir[/name] are most usable. Sorry if my pronunciations are wrong; I’m only taking French in school, so I’m far from fluent.

[name]Just[/name] a word of caution from someone who has lived through it…any name with an accent, or typical English pronouciation, will have the accent dropped or be butchered no matter how many times people are corrected. My family is French (well, my mom’s side is) and growing up I was always zsahd or zsa-day if they were feeling cutesy. However; I have yet to meet anyone who speaks English that can say it correctly or remembers to (this goes for my cousins [name]Lucien[/name] and [name]Henri[/name] who are always called LOO-shen and [name]Henry[/name] by friends). On the plus side [name]Michelle[/name] hasn’t had to much trouble being MEE-shel and not MIH-shell, although she too does a lot of correcting. [name]Just[/name] something to think about. I love everything on your list, and if you don’t mind correcting people I think the only one that is really not usable is [name]Guillaume[/name] for both spelling and pronouciation (and maybe [name]Beno[/name]”t, I am a bit bias though since it doesn’t look weird to me). I don’t have time to go through the rest in detail right now but I will.

I speak French, so I’m not sure I can be of much help since I think most of these names are lovely. But I’ll do my best!


  1. B”atrice (nn [name]Bay[/name]) - Oh, I love the French pron. so much more… but people will always give you funny looks when you say “It’s [name]Bay[/name]-ah-TREECE, not [name]BEE[/name]-ah-triss”.
  2. [name]Anouk[/name] - [name]LOVE[/name]. And it will be easy to pronounce.
  3. Am”lie - Like a previous poster said, this will do, but don’t be surprised if people say Am-muh-lee instead of [name]Ah[/name]-[name]MAY[/name]-lee
  4. F”licit” - Would probably get pron. Fuh-lee-seat, when it’s actually [name]Fay[/name]-lee-see-[name]TAY[/name]. I’d go with [name]Felicity[/name], but it’s not my favorite.
  5. Cl”o ou Cl”mentine (nn Cl”o) - I love the name [name]Clementine[/name], but it will get pronounced like the fruit.
  6. [name]Lucille[/name] (nn [name]Lucie[/name]) - Are you pronouncing the double L or is it silent in this case? If it’s silent, I’d go with [name]Lucia[/name]. Or, [name]Lucinde[/name].
  7. [name]Marielle[/name] ou [name]Murielle[/name] - Definitely [name]Murielle[/name], though both of them will work for an English speaker.
  8. L”oni, L”onie - [name]LOVE[/name]. But I actually prefer the English pronunciation, [name]Lee[/name]-OH-nee, to the French [name]Lay[/name]-oh-nee.
  9. [name]Doriane[/name] ou Doroth”e (nn [name]Dory[/name]) - Definitely Doroth”e, but you’ll get [name]Dorothy[/name] instead of [name]Doro[/name]-tay.
  10. [name]Estelle[/name] - [name]LOVE[/name].
  11. [name]Aliz[/name]”e - I can see people misinterpreting this as “[name]Eliza[/name]”, like “ah-LIE-zee” instead of “[name]Ah[/name]-lee-ZAY”.
  12. [name]Arielle[/name] - Definitely pronounceable, but very [name]Little[/name] Mermaid.


  1. Gid”on (nn [name]Guy[/name]), ou G”d”on (nn [name]Ged[/name]) - [name]Gideon[/name] the English way is just as handsome.
  2. B”n”dict (nn [name]Ben[/name]) - Would definitely work, and I like it, but not sure [name]America[/name] is ready for it yet. :wink:
  3. [name]Guillaume[/name] (nn [name]Guy[/name]) - Only this spelling. I know it’s pronounced Ghee-YOWM, but most people would say [name]GILL[/name]-owm.
  4. L”o - Handsome, but will get [name]LEE[/name]-oh instead of [name]LAY[/name]-oh.
  5. [name]Luc[/name] - Pronounceable, but not stunning.
  6. [name]Lucien[/name] - I think this would be so handsome on the right little boy! No pronunciation issues, either.
  7. [name]Beno[/name]”t (nn [name]Ben[/name]) - I think you would get [name]Ben[/name]-OYT instead of [name]Ben[/name]-WAH.
  8. [name]Math[/name]”o - For pronunciation’s sake, I would respell this [name]Matteo[/name]. But non-French speakers would be able to pronounce it easily.
  9. S”bastien ou [name]Bastien[/name] - [name]Bastien[/name] would work better for your purposes. People will pron. Suh-BASS-tien instead of [name]SAY[/name]-bass-tien.
  10. [name]Cyprien[/name] (nn [name]Cy[/name]) - I don’t like it much, but it would probably be okay, yes.
  11. [name]Casimir[/name] (nn Caz, like Cahz) - Never thought of this as French. I’m guessing Cah-sim-MEER? It’s okay. No pron. issues here.
  12. [name]Flavien[/name] (nn Flav) - Mmm, I don’t think so. Pronounceable or not, I don’t think this is ready for a comeback.

Have you considered [name]Alain[/name], [name]Didier[/name], [name]Christian[/name], [name]Jacques[/name], [name]Philippe[/name], or [name]Paul[/name] (for boys), or [name]Angelique[/name], [name]Eugenie[/name], [name]Mireille[/name], [name]Isabeau[/name], [name]Mathilde[/name], [name]Jacqueline[/name], or [name]Genevieve[/name] (for girls)?

While I love French and French names, I think you need to pick names where you’re satisfied with both the English and French pronunciations. [name]Even[/name] though you have a reason for using French variations, you live in a community of English speakers and it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you’re not going to get them to pronounce the name with a French accent. It’ll be like trying to herd feral cats. It just won’t work. Also, unless you plan on moving to [name]France[/name] I would even use English spellings of names like [name]Beatrice[/name] and [name]Dorothy[/name].

I love love [name]Amelie[/name] (sorry, don’t know how to do accents in here) and [name]Luc[/name]. [name]Lucille[/name] is also fantastic, as is [name]Benoit[/name]. Really, I don’t think that one should be much of a problem because it’s not even really pronouncable in English. What? [name]Ben[/name]-noy-tuh? I think people will probably just stumble and then you can give them the pronounciation and they should have it from there. Hahah I don’t know, maybe not but that’s what I would think.

I would stay away from [name]Alizee[/name] though. People might raise an eyebrow at that one…

Thank you all for the comments. I think you are all right that the names shouldn’t be too French, otherwise it’ll just create problems. I’ve come up with a few combinations that use what I think are subtle French names with some of my favorite non-french old-fashioned names. What do you think? Our last name starts with a D, two syllables, and is French.

Adelise [name]Fay[/name]
[name]Murielle[/name] [name]Carine[/name]
[name]Coraline[/name] [name]Gale[/name]
[name]Marilla[/name] [name]Estelle[/name]
[name]Mallorie[/name] [name]Fern[/name]

I have a hard time finding French boys names that I like but are still easy for English people to pronounce, which leaves me mostly with names that can be pronounced French, but aren’t French…

[name]Arthur[/name] [name]George[/name] (This would most likely be pronounced the English way the majority of the time)
Gid”on [name]Cabot[/name] (I like it with the accent, but know full well it would often get dropped)

  • or, slightly more French-
    [name]Orson[/name] [name]Laurent[/name]
    [name]Remi[/name] [name]Gilbert[/name]

I really like [name]Mallorie[/name], [name]Arthur[/name], and [name]Remi[/name]. Although I would spell [name]Remi[/name] as [name]Remy[/name]. English speakers are giving [name]Remy[/name]/[name]Remi[/name]/[name]Remie[/name] to girls more and more often, and [name]Remi[/name] is almost certainly going to be assumed to be a girl, while [name]Remy[/name] would be more male.

I think some posters are underestimating the English population–sure it is going to get butchered the first time, but most people are willing to learn a pronunciation (some won’t, but they are normally just stubborn!) Your children should be able to represent their French heritage! And yes, I grew up in a small town where strange names were butchered–but that shouldn’t throw out a wonderful set of names!

I love Felicite, [name]Lucille[/name], and [name]Estelle[/name]–I think the pronunciation problems wouldn’t be a huge deal for any of these. (I also love [name]Celeste[/name] and [name]Eulalie[/name])

For boys I love [name]Leo[/name], [name]Luc[/name], and [name]Matheo[/name]. [name]Matheo[/name] in particular is beyond adorable–and a one time pronunciation issue.

I knew little girls named [name]Marguerite[/name], [name]Estelle[/name], and [name]Sylvie[/name] who never had pronunciation issues.

Good [name]Luck[/name]

I agree that you might be underestimating people. I know someone whose last name is [name]Benoit[/name] and I’ve never heard it pronounced [name]Ben[/name]-oyt.

I love [name]Mallory[/name] (prefer this spelling), [name]Murielle[/name], [name]Coraline[/name]

For boys, [name]Benoit[/name], [name]Lucien[/name], [name]Sebastien[/name]

Good luck!


  1. B”atrice (nn [name]Bay[/name]) - the problem with this is that the accent isnt going to translate well and she will be called [name]Beatrice[/name] (bee-a-trice)
  2. [name]Anouk[/name] - I like it, but think it’s quite intrepid/
  3. Am”lie - Ahm-ay-lie or Ahm-el-ie? Because it most likely again be pronounced the second way.
  4. F”licit” - I’m from [name]Ontario[/name] and this is popular amongst the Quebecers and french community here, but non french knowing anglos might have a hard time
  5. Cl”o ou Cl”mentine (nn Cl”o) - I much prefer [name]Cleo[/name] (cant get the accent on this keyboard)
  6. [name]Lucille[/name] (nn [name]Lucie[/name]) - [name]Lucie[/name] is super cute.
  7. [name]Marielle[/name] ou [name]Murielle[/name] - I prefer [name]Marielle[/name] (I like the way the french pronounce it). Also lends it self to many nns.
  8. L”oni, L”onie - [name]LOVE[/name], [name]LOVE[/name], [name]LOVE[/name]
  9. [name]Doriane[/name] ou Doroth”e (nn [name]Dory[/name]) - Not really my style
  10. [name]Estelle[/name] - [name]Love[/name] it
  11. [name]Aliz[/name]”e - It’s going to be hard for non francophones. Also it’s an alcohol name brand here
  12. [name]Arielle[/name] - it’s okay.


  1. Gid”on (nn [name]Guy[/name]), ou G”d”on (nn [name]Ged[/name]) - Using [name]Guy[/name] as a nn is interesting…don’t know if I would go that route. Most francophones will assume [name]Guillaume[/name] for [name]Guy[/name].
  2. B”n”dict (nn [name]Ben[/name]) - Like [name]Ben[/name] better
  3. [name]Guillaume[/name] (nn [name]Guy[/name]), [name]Guillem[/name] ou Guilhem (nn [name]Gill[/name]) - See [name]Gideon[/name]
  4. L”o - okay
  5. [name]Luc[/name] - very french, like it.
  6. [name]Lucien[/name] - no
  7. [name]Beno[/name]”t (nn [name]Ben[/name]) - again hard for anglophones
  8. [name]Math[/name]”o - What about Matthieu?
  9. S”bastien ou [name]Bastien[/name] -I prefer [name]Bastien[/name]
  10. [name]Cyprien[/name] (nn [name]Cy[/name]) - not my style
  11. [name]Casimir[/name] (nn Caz, like Cahz) - its okay
  12. [name]Flavien[/name] (nn Flav) - nope


  1. B”atrice (nn [name]Bay[/name]): like it, but it would not be pronounced correctly
  2. [name]Anouk[/name]: [name]LOVE[/name] this name. very straightforward. I thought this name was French and Dutch-- all the more reason to like it I think.
  3. Am”lie: like the French movie…
  4. F”licit”: meh. Feels very Colonial
  5. Cl”o ou Cl”mentine (nn Cl”o): cute
  6. [name]Lucille[/name] (nn [name]Lucie[/name]): meh
  7. [name]Marielle[/name] ou [name]Murielle[/name]: I like [name]Murielle[/name] better
  8. L”oni, L”onie: love this name. Very popular in [name]France[/name] as well, n’est pas?
  9. [name]Doriane[/name] ou Doroth”e (nn [name]Dory[/name]): non- seems out of place with the rest.
  10. [name]Estelle[/name]: not as exciting
  11. [name]Aliz[/name]”e: as others mentioned, it’s the name of an alcoholic mixer
  12. [name]Arielle[/name]: again, very [name]Little[/name] Mermaid.


  1. Gid”on (nn [name]Guy[/name]), ou G”d”on (nn [name]Ged[/name]): I like this
  2. B”n”dict (nn [name]Ben[/name]): makes me think of the fabulous breakfast
  3. [name]Guillaume[/name] (nn [name]Guy[/name]), [name]Guillem[/name] ou Guilhem (nn [name]Gill[/name]): too hard for non-French speakers
  4. L”o: meh
  5. [name]Luc[/name]: cute
  6. [name]Lucien[/name]: meh
  7. [name]Beno[/name]”t (nn [name]Ben[/name]): too easy to butcher this name
  8. [name]Math[/name]”o: Yes!
  9. S”bastien ou [name]Bastien[/name]: I like this one
  10. [name]Cyprien[/name] (nn [name]Cy[/name]): can see this being mispronounced as well
  11. [name]Casimir[/name] (nn Caz, like Cahz): " "
  12. [name]Flavien[/name] (nn Flav): " "